In Beijing, Su Wan hung up the phone and glanced at Yang Hao, who was playing a game on his phone. The two gave each other dismayed looks across the tent as the wind continued howling outside.
You could tell at a glance that it was Su Wan’s tent since there was a stove, sleeping bags, and plenty of lights inside. A laptop was sitting open nearby, displaying a camera feed. It was obvious that Su Wan had installed wireless cameras in several of the trees outside.
“Teacher Xie said to do it.”
“If we wait until tomorrow, we might have to collect a corpse.”
Yang Hao thought it over for a moment, exited out of the game, and then pinched his eyebrows, “Isn’t it a bit too bold to go to the Wuchang Temple in the middle of the night to offer up sacrifices to summon soldiers?”
“Don’t you work in the underworld? What, are you still afraid of ghosts even though you’re in that line of business?”
“How the fuck do I work in the underworld? That’s just my character design when I do live broadcasts. I’m just the host.” Yang Hao stood up, and the two people packed up the mock ingot candles with runes on them(1), put them in their backpacks, and walked out of the tent.
The scene outside was that of the wild mountains around Beijing, probably near Hebei. Su Wan turned on the GPS and said, “We recorded the coordinates during the day so let’s go. But first, have you peed yet? If you need to go, do it now because you won’t be able to pee there. There’s no telling whose grave you’ll end up peeing on.”
The two children had grown into young men now. Both of them were slender but Yang Hao was a little taller and had a small tattoo on his neck that read: I’m not patient, don’t provoke me. Su Wan was wearing glasses that were designed the same as his master’s but they weren’t sunglasses.
“I heard that you’re very strong now. If something comes up later, you can handle it.” After Su Wan finished setting up the GPS, he turned on the large, bright flashlight he had brought with him. In an instant, the area in front of them was lit up like it was daytime.
“Give me a cigarette.”(2)
“If you start a mountain fire, you’ll go to prison.”
“I won’t light it.”
Su Wan handed a cigarette over to Yang Hao, who tore off the filter, put the remaining part in his mouth, and started chewing. The two men started walking forward, following the GPS’s directions.
They soon returned to the ruins that they often checked during the day.
This Wuchang Temple was in complete ruins. There was only one structure that still maintained its shape, although it was very small. There were many ruins around it, but the buildings had long collapsed and didn’t retain their shape. The small structure was still an ancient building, but it was probably so old that no one had ever noticed it before. Inside the structure, they could see a small figure that was doing a handstand.
The figure was about the size of a palm and had been placed on a brick in the center of the room. There was an empty, broken bowl sitting in front of the brick. With the exception of a bunch of incomprehensible patterns graffitied on the wall, the other areas were clean. It was impossible to tell who had drawn those patterns.
It also looked like someone had burned paper at some point, but it must have been done at least ten years ago. There were traces of burnt paper on the concrete floor, but they were extremely old.
“Who’s this little man?”
“Zhang Wulang. He’s the master of the fierce troops here.”
“Why does Mr. Zhang Wulang look like he’s doing a handstand?” Yang Hao asked.
“Zhang Wulang offended his master, Taishang Laojun, by falling in love with his daughter. Laojun sent out flying swords to look for him all over the world. Since these swords would kill Zhang Wulang as soon as they saw him, he had to remain in a handstand for the rest of his life so that the flying swords wouldn’t recognize him,”(3) Su Wan said. “Later, Zhang Wulang hunted for a living and taught all of his spells to hunters. That’s why he’s also known as the God of Hunting.”
Yang Hao looked at the small figure and bowed, “A true man who values love and righteousness.”
The two people then poured rice into the tribute bowl, lit a bunch of incense sticks, and inserted them into the rice.
“Isn’t this too much?”
“What do you mean ‘too much’?” Su Wan said as he took out a thick stack of paper from his pocket. Yang Hao saw that in addition to paper money, there were many strange-shaped things made of paper. When he picked a few up and started flipping through them, Su Wan told him, “Don’t touch those. That’s their equipment.”
After saying this, Su Wan began burning the paper money. He had brought a lot with him so the area in front of the upside-down figure was instantly covered in big flames, the heat wave enough to burn their hair and eyebrows off.
Yang Hao fiddled with one of the folded papers and unfolded it, finding that it was an AK47.
With a puzzled expression on his face, he continued unfolding a few more and found that there were three bundles of guns, including AK47s, light machine guns, and rocket launchers.
They were all made of paper.
“Where did you buy these?”
“A paper shop.”
Yang Hao was completely stupefied, “Are you really going to burn these now? What, are you helping King Yama fight terrorism?”(4)
“You can get anything done as long as you have money. This is all just the infantry equipment. The other stuff is even more powerful,” Su Wan said.
Yang Hao opened his bag and saw that there was another pile of paper at the bottom. He took them out and unfolded a few, only to find that they were a tank and an attack aircraft.
“These are all for Wuchang Bingma?”
Su Wan took the pile from him and threw it directly into the fire while saying to Yang Hao, “All fears in the world are due to insufficient firepower.”
Yang Hao paused, feeling a little uncertain, and then threw all the rifles in. After that, Su Wan took out a lot of paper bullets from the side pocket of his bag and threw them into the fire, “I’ve prepared gasoline, supplies, and ammunition according to the caliber of the guns so they should give their full support. My master will definitely look cooler if he calls for the five fierce troops over there and the monster he’s facing sees that our troops all have machine guns.”
After throwing all of the paper into the fire, Su Wan took out a talisman from his wallet, which was almost entirely black like a cloud of ink.
“This is a portal-opening talisman. As soon as it burns, the five fierce troops will come out of the portal. I’ll need you to protect me.”
Then he sat down and got ready to burn the talisman.
But at this time, Zhang Wulang’s small statue in front of him suddenly overturned by itself.
The two men exchanged a glance. Not only was the statue small and stable, but there was no wind here. It was absolutely impossible for it to tip over by itself.
<Chapter 31><Table of Contents><Chapter 33>
(1) An ingot is also known as a sycee or yuanbao. It was a type of gold and silver currency used in imperial China from its founding under the Qin Dynasty until the fall of the Qing in the 20th century. Mock ingots can be burnt as offering in worship. Based on the description here, I think it’s just a fancy looking candle holder with some runes on it (for casting a spell). Maybe something like this:
(2) Fun fact, he actually said “Huazi” (华子), which is what the local Chinese cigarettes are commonly known as.
(3) This story was mentioned in that link I sent yesterday (here). Taishang Laojun is a high Taoist god. He is the Taiqing, which is one of the Three Pure Ones, the highest divinities of Taoism.
(4) Per Tiffany: In some Asian cultures, the concept of burning paper money is that you hope spirits on the other side can gain money. You can also make “paper cars”, “paper phones”, and other stuff. You can make everything you can think of. Those things are supposed to be three-dimensional but it would be very inconvenient to carry them that way so Su Wan folded them. Here is the video about what those things may look like.
Oh man, trust Su Wan to be prepared and give a bunch of ancient soldiers modern weapons lol. I’ve missed his antics.
3 thoughts on “Chapter 32”
I’m glad we can read the other side of the story, especially since Su Wan is involved.
He used paper of Tank, Ak47 and bullet for ghost soldiers? He equipped them for war.😄
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I. Love. Su. Wan!! He’s so practical 😍
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Su Wan’s attention to logistics is completely delightful. Master Black picked an *excellent* apprentice.
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